Sometimes you gotta’ go big, or go home empty handed. Bass anglers this summer should tie on Arashi® Top Walkers to ensure against empty livewells.
“It’s a bait for me that in the summertime I’ve always got it tied on,” says Basmaster Elite Pro Brandon Palaniuk. “It’s a little bit bigger than a lot of your other walk-the-dog-style baits.”
Top Walkers come in two sizes, both of them big – 4 ¼ inches and 5 1/8 inches.
“There’s a reason for that,” Palaniuk says. “You get into situations where you get into dirtier water, those fish they need to be able to see that bait. They need to be able to hear it. And a bigger bait like that is just going to push a lot more water.”
In such situations, bigger is demonstrably better.
“I catch a lot of my biggest fish of the year on big, topwater walking baits,” says Palaniuk, who was thrilled when Storm® first introduced the Top Walker in 2015. “It’s the best walk-the-dog bait, by far,” he said at the time. “It’s going to up my odds of putting more fish in the boat.”
It sure has.
In May, Palaniuk won a Bassmaster tournament in Texas, weighing four 5-fish limits for a combined weight of 93 pounds, 12 ounces. “Every single day I caught a big one on a Top Walker,” he says.
A long-glide, walk-the-dog action, a powerful wake and a multiple-rattle sound combine to help Top Walkers call in the biggest bass from the farthest distances. They feature four bearings that broadcast a variable pitch frequency, mimicking the sound of schooling baitfish that predators can’t ignore.
“I’ll fish this bait in a lot of different scenarios,” Palaniuk says. “Around rock, grass, wood and in a lot of different water clarities.”
“I’m always going to try to make my cast next to an edge or some type of cover where those fish have an ambush point,” Palaniuk continues. “So I’ll make a long cast down a grass line, I’ll let my bait sit for just a second – let the ripples clear – then I’m going to make one quick little jerk of the rod, and that’s going to get that bait to dart side to side.”
Palaniuk retrieves a Top Walker with “a good, steady cadence,” lifting his rod tip up and down while slowly, simultaneously reeling, “picking up that extra slack line, but not picking up too much,” he says. “You always want to leave just a little bit of slack to allow that bait to dive side to side.”
Purpose-built to eliminate the missed opportunities all too common with lesser top-water options, the Top Walker strides true even when retrieved fast.
“In clear water, I’m going to fish this bait extremely fast, because those fish, they’re sight feeders and moving that bait helps me get more strikes,” Palaniuk says. “The dirtier the water is, the slower I’ll fish that bait. Those fish, they need to be able to find the bait, they need to be able to track it.”
Not only does the Top Walker elicit more strikes than other top-waters, it yields more hook-up as well, Palaniuk says. Partially flattened sides prevent it from rolling as it changes direction on the retrieve.
“Its design prevents it from rolling as it changes direction on the retrieve,” Palaniuk explains. “That keeps the hooks underneath its body and not flaring out to the sides when it changes direction on the walk. That increases your hook-up ratio almost two-to-one.”
Rotated hook hangers, a feature of all baits in the Arashi line-up, ensure that all of the Top Walker’s three sticky-sharp VMC trebles will grab fish and not let go.
The 4 1/4-inch Top Walker weighs 3/4 of an ounce. The 5 1/8-inch model weighs 1 1/8th ounces. Both models come in ten color patterns, most of them slightly translucent: Green Gold Shad, Hot Blue Shad, Pearl Ayu, Bluegill, Blue Back Herring, Wakasagi, Ghost Hitch, Pro Blue, Ghost Pearl Shad and Black Silver Shad.
Palaniuk ties Top Walkers directly to a line that does not sink — either monofilament or braid. Because fluorocarbon sinks, it pulls down the nose of topwater baits, hampering their action. When water clarity and conditions allow, Palaniuk throws Top Walkers on braid. In crystal-clear water, he uses mono.